Skip to main content

Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

See other formats

tative conclusions and new facts arising in a piece of research in
natural science, before it can be written up.
Some or all of the successive drafts may also be circulated to a com-
paratively large number of outside experts for written criticism. The
collation, of such comments often brings to light new details and un-
expected points of view which the group, in its preoccupation with its
own trend of thought, lias overlooked. It atYbrds a method of
enlarging the group without the lime-consuming business of large-
scale discussion.
In other cases, the actual investigator may be a single man, while
the group element is provided by interviews and by circulation of
drafts. This method is best adapted to problems which are of large
geographical scale and local diversity, though it may also be used for
those which are qualitatively tliversified in themselves.
It may be expected that the working out of various techniques made
necessary by the nature of the data of social science will have fruitful
repercussions in certain fields of natural science, such as evolution and
comparative biological study in general, when* the present bias in
favour of experimental work and specific results is leaving vast bodies
of published data awaiting the synthetic, treatment which only organ-
ized group attack can provide.
I have already mentioned certain substitutes for the controlled ex-
perimentation of the natural sciences. But experimentation as a
method is not ruled out in social science, though it must take dilVenutt
forms. Regional or group experimentation is the most obvious
method. Two regions or groups are chosen which are as similar as
possible, and certain measures are introduced in the one, while the
other serves as control. The Carlisle experiment on liquor control in
Britain was an early essay in this method, but tin fortunately it has
been allowed to drag on without any serious attempts to draw theo-
retical conclusions or to frame practical policies on the basis of its
operation. The TVA in America is perhaps the largest social
experiment ever undertaken, at any rate in a mm- totalitarian
country. The area involved, however, is so large that strict controls
are difficult to find.
As the spirit of scientific planning extends with government, we
may expect to see regional experiments tried out in many fields.
Medical and health services would afford another excellent field.
The social results of cheap electric power could be made the subject
of local experiments much more rigorous than that of the TVA.
Different methods of developing backward tropical territoriesóby
international or national chartered companies, by public works